Meatloaf has always been a hearty comfort food for me. It was actually the very first meal that I cooked when I was a very, very young teenager, using a recipe from a cookbook for kids. I think I might have been somewhere around 11 or 12. I made the meal for my parents and brother, and naturally my brother hated it!
I baked it in a round cake pan, sliced it into pie shapes and put a scoop of mashed potatoes on top, to make it look like pie with ice cream. Yes my brother made fun of that too!
He was so weird. Well, maybe I was the weird one!
When I had a family of my own, I made the meatloaf like my Mom did, using torn bread instead of bread crumbs. My daughter hated it and I believe to this day still hates meatloaf!! HAHA
I guess those soggy pieces of bread scarred her for life…
Now I like to add finely diced veggies to my meatloaf. Pretty sure my kids would have definitely not liked this when they were little but I have made it for my son now, he’s all grown up. And he does like it!
I used about a pound of ground beef. For the veggies I finely diced red and orange bell peppers, onion and spinach. I usually include carrots but I didn’t have any this time. Whatever veggies you use just make sure they are finely diced and the spinach torn. Sautee the onion and peppers first, toss in the spinach at the end, for just a minute or two. Then set aside to cool.
I usually use store bought bread crumbs or make my own but this time I took about 12 crackers, the buttery kind, and made crumbs out of them. I had them left over from holiday entertaining.
I had half and half in the fridge that I needed to use up so I substituted that for the milk I usually use.
My Mom did not use Worcestershire sauce in her meatloaf, but I do. I think it amps up the flavor. Same thing with the little squirt of mustard, just a squirt though.
My Mom always used ketchup as a topping, and that’s what I typically do but you can do whatever you like on the top. Or leave it naked! But I like how thick the ketchup gets while it’s baking.
I have at times used leftover tomato paste or sauce and doctored it up but I do not typically open new cans for meatloaf topping. I just use my bottle of ketchup in the fridge.
So let’s get to it!
I like to use a large bowl, add all the ingredients but make sure the veggies are cooled, and use your hands to mix everything together. Make sure you salt and pepper the mixture before you dive in with your hands! Shape into a loaf and place into a pan lined with foil, just makes clean up a little easier. Top with the ketchup and bake for about 45 minutes to an hour at 350.
I am kinda funny about making sure it’s cooked the whole way through so either use a meat thermometer or cut in half to make sure it is cooked through.
Please excuse the poor quality of the pictures, I made this in the evening and my kitchen is not well lit even though every light in the kitchen was on!
Preheat oven to 350
1 pound ground beef
1 cup bell peppers, finely diced
1 small onion, finely diced
1 handful spinach, torn up or chopped
12 buttery crackers, broken into crumbs
½ cup half and half
1 squirt of regular mustard
4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
Ketchup for topping
1. Sautee the peppers and onion ib olive oil until tender, toss in torn spinach and Sautee for 1-2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. Line a 9×9 or 13×9 baking pan with foil, set aside.
3. Place all ingredients, except the ketchup, in the bowl. Using your hands, mix together and form into a loaf and place in pan.
4. Top with ketchup.
5. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour until it is cooked through.
6. Let sit for a few minutes, then place the entire loaf on a platter and slice.